SEC Climate Disclosures

From the SEC web site (via frequent contributor LK)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to provide public companies with interpretive guidance on existing SEC disclosure requirements as they apply to business or legal developments relating to the issue of climate change.

I haven't seen anyone explain the reason for this requirement, so I thought I would do so.  Companies know that no real investor is going to pay any attention to these climate disclosures, so to avoid any future action accusing them of not being forthcoming enough, companies are going to go overboard outlining potential risks far beyond what they think is likely.  These exaggerations will protect them from the SEC while at the same time having no effect on their stock price.  Then, alarmists will collate all of these and use them as evidence of the high cost of climate change, saying "see, look at what all these public companies are saying climte change will do to them."  Lacking any evidence of harmful climate change in the actual climate or economy, this is one way to manufacture fake evidence.

By the way, here is the diclosure every oil company should put in their reports:

Notice:  Poplist politicians are very likely to demagogue this company for a wide-range of imagined crimes in an attempt to get re-elected, including crimes against the climate in various forms.   Politicians will attempt to preferentially saddle this company with new taxes and regulations given that this company is not liked by many voters (despite the fact that many of these voters freelydo business with this company).  Politicians will likely continue to try to sieze portions of this company's earnings, despite the fact that those earnings are relatively low given the magnitude of the our investments and the amount of value we add.

  • http://evilredscandi.blogspot.com Evil Red Scandi

    If these companies are smart they'll be very dry in their descriptions and deal strictly with the amount of CO2 they produce and the potential taxes / fines for doing so, and leave it at that. You pretty much know, however, that some companies (Apple, Nike, GE, etc.) will smell which way the wind is blowing (so to speak) and be good little "victims." All you can do is not buy their products or their stock.

  • Ron H.

    Yes, ERS is right. I will refuse to buy stock in any company that I consider a "Climate Criminal", even though the value of that stock may incrase by double digits year after year. That should send them a clear message of my disapproval.

  • http://evilredscandi.blogspot.com Evil Red Scandi

    @Ron (who I'm assume is being sarcastic): Yes, I know it's right up there with "We will write you a letter and tell you how angry we are" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b49Iwfp8U-U - very NSFW), but there are plenty of other opportunities out there.

  • http://togetrichisglorious.blogspot.com Colin

    Congress has also mandated the Pentagon assess climate change risks in its newest defense review:

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/78855-pentagon-review-to-address-climate-change-for-the-first-time

  • ADiff

    What I'd like to know is when the SEC will enforce disclosure of how they would deal with a major asteroid strike. Incurring the negative impacts are about the same order of likelihood.

    What a total crock.